Security Casualties of Sinai Attacks Rise to 60 – Security Source

The casualties from attacks on security checkpoints and facilities in North Sinai on Wednesday rose to 60 security personnel, ranging from deaths to injuries, a security source said.

The attacks were followed by clashes with militants. So far over 30 militants have been killed in the clashes, the source added.

Mohamed Samir, the armed forces spokesman said two main militant gathering sites were targeted and “completely destroyed”, a short while ago.

The air force is still targeting militants on the ground and the clashes are still ongoing, Samir added in a statement.

Ambulances are moving casualties from the scene of the violence, the source said, after the roads have been cleared from explosive devices planted by “terrorist groups” to halt the ambulances.

Clashes remain ongoing, the source said, adding that second field army officers are chasing armed groups which carried out the attacks in Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah.

F16 fighter jets hovered above North Sinai to assist military forces chasing the militants, the source said.

Armed assailants attacked military checkpoints in Sheikh Zuweid with mortar shells and heavy weaponry early Wednesday, police sources said. Security forces were soon to respond, as both sides exchanged fire.

Gunmen also attacked the Sheikh Zuweid Police Station with firearms, sources said, adding that security forces quickly responded, forcing the assailants to retreat.

The Sinai-based militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The group said in a statement released on twitter accounts affiliated with it that it targeted over 15 security locations, carrying out three “suicide operations”, as well as other attacks on 13 checkpoints and a police station with heavy and light weaponry.

The militant group claimed it has “gained full control” over several locations, adding that clashes remain ongoing.

Aswat Masriya could not independently verify the authenticity of the statement.

Militancy inside Egypt has seen a significant rise since the military ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in July 2013, which was prompted by mass protests against his rule. Most attacks occur in North Sinai, targeting security forces. The attacks have left hundreds of security personnel killed.

Attacks have expanded to other parts of the city, including the capital.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis is Egypt’s most active militant group, having claimed responsibility for the majority of militant attacks in the peninsula. The group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State fighters in Syria and Iraq last November, changing its name to Sinai Province.

Source : Aswat Masriya